Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT, is the sum of all energy burned by your body while NOT exercising. Sitting at your desk, standing upright, walking up the stairs, mowing the grass or vacuuming the carpet are all examples of NEAT. NEAT includes any type of movement that requires muscle contractions. Any activity that increases your metabolic rate substantially that is not considered “exercise” contributes to your non-exercise calorie burn. A more technical and scientific definition is available from the US National Library of Medicine here.
When we think about burning calories and weight loss, we naturally think of structured exercise. There is however, growing evidence that suggests that NEAT plays a role in both health and obesity. One study performed at the Mayo Clinic suggests that when overfed, some individuals naturally began to burn more calories through activities of daily living, postural changes, and even fidgeting, and this increase appears to be at least partly responsible for their resistance to weight gain. So we begin to see that to some extent, NEAT can help control obesity.
Throughout the course of the day, we burn energy or expend calories through the process known as Total Daily Energy Expenditure or TDEE which can be organized into three distinct categories:
- Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR, the energy your body uses to support the functions of the organs and physiological systems including breathing, circulation, etc.
- Thermic Effect of Food or TEF is the energy your body uses to convert the food into more energy or to move it to a location to be stored. Digestion requires energy.
- Thermic Effect of Physical Activity or TEPA accounts for the remaining energy expenditure from either planned exercise or spontaneous non-exercise activities which we now know as NEAT.
Of these energy expenditures, we normally think that the only one we can control is “planned” exercise. But what if you could increase the number of calories burned through “non-exercise”? There are simple ways to burn more calories through NEAT with minimal effort, here are ten :
- Stand Up – Standing requires more energy and calories. Consider a standing desk.
- Walk More – Walk to work, school, shopping, or walk the dog.
- Increase Your Steps – Now that you are walking more, find simple ways to gradually increase the distance and number of steps required. Park further from the door, walk to the furthest restroom at work.
- Chores – You can burn a large number of calories cleaning house, washing dishes or teh car or doing yard work.
- Play With Your Children – Or your pets. As little as 20 minutes spent in the park or on the playground with your pets or kids can burn an easy and fun 200 calories.
- Cooking – Stay active in the kitchen, exaggerate your movements and move around between cooktops and countertops.
- Walk and Talk – Spend time on the phone walking or pacing.
- Stairs – Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- Active TV – Stay active while watching television by folding laundry, ironing, sweeping or dusting.
- More Sex – More sex burns more calories, more active sex burns even more calories.
“Riccardo Alessandro Migliorini”